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Zac Brown Sues 'Songland' Star Ryan Tedder Over Solo Album

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By Ryan Naumann

Zac Brown has slapped songwriter Ryan Tedder with a federal lawsuit.

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, the Zac Brown Band front man is suing the "Songland" star, accusing him of screwing with his music royalties.

In the suit, Brown explains he is a professional “songwriter, performing artist, musician, and recording artist who performs under the name Zac Brown” who performs with the Zac Brown Band.

He says, “In early March 2018, Defendant provided to Mr. Brown previously recorded elements referred to as a “start” (the “Start”), with the intention that the Start be incorporated or merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a potential new musical composition written or co-written with Mr. Brown.”

Brown, along with Tedder and music engineers, then created a song named “Nowhere to Go” aka “Dance on Me”.

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The suit continues, “It was always understood and agreed that Mr. Brown had ultimate and sole control and discretion as to the elements to be included in, and the completion and Plaintiffs’ release of, the Nowhere Left to Go recording and musical composition.” Brown continued working on revisions of the song over the months, unable to get ahold of Tedder on multiple occasions.

He sent the finished song to Tedder on June 3, 2019. Brown says Tedder changed course. Brown writes, “However, in a sudden reversal from Defendant’s prior communications with Mr. Brown, Defendant responded that he did not realize that Mr. Brown was pursuing the completion of the Nowhere Left to Go recording and that Defendant had told Diplo, another songwriter and record producer, that Diplo could use the Start to create a different sound recording.”

Brown completed his song and continued to work on finishing the rest of his album.

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The suit reads, “In or about July 2019, Defendant’s personal manager approached Mr. Brown’s personal manager and asked that Plaintiffs delay publicly releasing Nowhere Left to Go until simultaneously with, or after, the new recording that Diplo had produced was released as a single in August of 2019. At no time did Defendant’s personal manager dispute Plaintiffs’ right to publicly release Nowhere Left to Go prior to the new recording by Diplo or otherwise. However, Plaintiffs did not intend to release Nowhere Left to Go until the album on which it would appear was completed and did not anticipate that to occur until September 2019.”

He continued, “In or about August 2019, Defendant’s personal manager contacted Mr. Brown’s personal manager again and advised that the recording that Diplo had produced was not going to be released in August 2019 as originally planned and asked that Mr. Brown further delay his release of Nowhere Left to Go. Mr. Brown’s personal manager declined to agree that Plaintiffs delay publicly releasing Nowhere Left to Go.

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Brown released his solo album "The Controversy" in September, with the song “Nothing Left To Go”. He accuses Tedder of then sending takedown notices claiming the song committed copyright infringement, preventing him from profiting off it.

He says, “As a direct and intended result of Defendants’ Purported Takedown Notice, TuneCore notified digital retail platforms of the claim and, as a result, digital retail platforms removed The Controversy Album, including Nowhere Left to Go, from commercial release, and although various digital retail platforms have since resumed the commercial release of The Controversy Album without Nowhere Left to Go, TuneCore and digital retail platforms have refused to resume the commercial release of Nowhere Left to Go, thereby directly interfering with Plaintiffs’ rights in and to Nowhere Left to Go and Mr. Brown’s right to songwriter royalties and other payments.”

Brown is suing demanding unspecified damages.

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